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Satone
Feb 9, 2007
Good to the last drop

Look I'm a casual Star Wars fan. I liked the original trilogy, and mostly hated the prequels like everyone else. I'm not familiar with the inside nerd references, jokes and whatnot so here goes.

If you've been on the fence about seeing this wondering whether it was gonna be terrible like the prequels, I have the answer for you. Its not. The movie delivers. Like hell it delivers.

Episode VII brings a lot of interesting new characters to the screen, while sprinkling in the old favorites as well. We get a great new villain (complete with his own sithlord master, too), he's not quite Darth Vader and I like that. He's trying more to do his own thing, while still being an evil motherfucker. We get a fun, quirky, new droid, a stormtrooper with a heart, and a female co-lead (with a bare minimum of backstory so far, unfortunately). It's got many familiar faces, such as Leia, R2-D2, C-3PO Luke Skywalker and of course Han Solo and Chewbacca. There's a Yoda parallel (who also does her own thing, but it remains to be seen if she will become as iconic as him). Even Admiral Ackbar gets a few frames in there. There are lots of great parallels and shots reminiscent of the original trilogy (I'm thinking of Ren's scooter ride across the desert to Luke's hovercraft ride in A New Hope). And there are little injections of humor here and there that lighten the mood, while suitably not distracting the plot.

Just as there are plenty of references to IV, V, and VI Abrams did the audience a solid and didn't even glance at the prequels (far as I can tell at least; loving Jar Jar Binks is nowhere to be seen, thank god).

This movie is everything I hoped it could be. Can't wait to see Episode VIII.

Satone fucked around with this message at Dec 25, 2015 around 09:48

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El Perkele
Nov 7, 2002
*aaaaaa*

Star War Episode VII is a problematic movie. As a stand-alone film it is both solidly crafted and extremely formulaic by-the-numbers. As a Star Wars film it is a franchise restart and a building point for what will probably be multi-billion dollars' worth of spinoffs and sequels. It accomplishes exactly what it set out to accomplish. That is also the movie's greatest weakness.

The movie sports a new ensemble of likeable, entertaining and interesting characters that have some novelty to them. However, the quick pace and the movie's insistence of stuffing as many original trilogy references into the limited runtime as possible undermine the quite enjoyable character arcs. The movie does not have courage of letting the characters act or breathe, instead throwing action at the viewers at every single opportunity - and when there is a chance for character exploration, the movie usually undercuts itself by introducing old characters, failing to establish a real history or other referential frame, or simply moving too fast.

The Force Awakens is like a reverse prequel-trilogy: It has way too little originality and too much needless action, but it is hidden behind solid Hollywood action-film facade. The prequel trilogy was criticized for spending too much time in the galactic politics - the Force Awakens discards galactic politics to the degree that the background of the climactic battle is pretty much nonexistant and the entire larger plot becomes meaningless and incomprehensible. The prequel dwelled on original ideas, executed poorly - the Force Awakens dwells of rehashed ideas, executed well. The prequel trilogy spent too much time on bad characterization - The Force Awakens doesn't spend near enough time with it's good characterization.

However, despite all it's failings, the movie is entertaining. It is entertaining in the way of Avengers - it hits all the right notes and has an ensemble of good characters, but has little or no originality, sense of scale or, for the lack of better word, elegance. I am not unhappy after seeing the film and sort of recommend seeing it, but it is ultimately just another Star Wars rehash. There is much potential for different space fantasy stories starting from The Force Awakens, but whether there is courage to actually tell them remains to be seen.

2.5/5

El Perkele fucked around with this message at Dec 25, 2015 around 20:17

Ka0
Sep 16, 2002

hello


This movie is good fun. Every character interacts perfectly and at all times you never notice that a scene is drawn out too long or that it lacks development, the pacing is great. To me Daisy Ridley's character was fantastic and it made the movie. It's a fish-out-of water story with an added bonus of an unexplained backstory, which I'm glad they kept hidden. John Boyega's acting is perfect, every interaction between Finn and the cast is flawless; he's Rey's white knight, Poe's little bro, Han and Chewie's junior, Kylo's nemesis, he completely knocks it out the park.

The millennium falcon is back; I feel many reviews skip over this fact as if it were another prop but the ship itself is a character, and it's so great to see it back in full form.

Visual effects are stunning, villains are clear cut and bad and you want them to fail, Adam Driver does a masterful impression of Lord Helmet from Spaceballs adding in some rich spoiled brat wannabe badass for good measure, X-wings and TIE fighters are back. I've never given two shits about all the star wars novels, dramas, expanded stories, comics, and I've already seen this thing 3 times. 5/5

pigdog
Apr 23, 2004


A timid, by the numbers remake of The New Hope with less memorable characters and, surprisingly for a Star Wars film, no innovation. The movie takes the pieces the previous movies set up, chooses some of the better ones, plays around with them a bit, but adds nothing.

Pretty generous amount of flash, but little heart or substance. Spacefighting scenes have hardly felt less meaningful. NOT a great movie by any stretch, just an uninspired, okay one. I concur with El Perkele's review two posts up.

5 / 10

Perestroika
Apr 8, 2010



This movie certainly played it safe, though as far as I'm concerned not to its detriment. It served essentially as a soft reset, more or less discarding anything from the prequels as well as the extended universe and setting things up to go into a new direction. It does this very competently, with likeable characters, good pacing, great visuals, and a decent mix of drama, action, and some comic relief (the last of which I personally found less annoying and on-the-nose than the R2-D2/C3PO shenanigans of the OT).

The plot runs very close to A New Hope's, partly because they're both rather straightforward Hero's Journeys, and partly because TFA really loves its callbacks. But a the same time certain character dynamics are fresh and different enough that it's not just blindly retreading old ground. Frankly I was never too fond of Luke's character in ANH, while I'm much more on board with Rey's reluctant hero and Finn's almost childlike enthusiasm.

Honestly, the most glowing praise I can give TFA is that it actually managed to make me feel genuinely excited about Star Wars again. The moment I walked out of the cinema I found myself already looking forward to eventually watching the next one.

4/5

Blistex
Oct 30, 2003

"When I see someone tilting my tables, I shoot the Bastard. That's my policy!"


Everyone who's seen Star Trek 2009 and ITD pertty much knew exactly what JJ was going to do with this film. It's a pretty close beat-for-beat remake of ANH complete with "Young hearo on a desert world finds a cute droid with important plans maps. . . death star. . . discovering the force. . . main protagonist defeated at the end but still alive to come back. . . and you know the rest.

Since it is a JJ movie, don't expect much in the way of amazing dialogue or writing, but be prepared for a film with nice pacing which looks and sounds beautiful with lots of well done action. The acting amongst the old cast is pretty flat, but the new crew is pretty solid. Daisy Ridley and John Boyega really upstage Ford/Fischer/Hamill, but that wasn't hard. The real surprise is how Adam Driver blows all of them away, and gives us a top-notch villain with some real conflict.

3.5/5

DKWildz
Jan 7, 2002


Disappointing. It felt like I was watching Episode 4 hiding under a new paint job called Episode 7, except heavily abridged, and made BIGGER and SHINIER! It left me watching an unbelievable story of serendipity for characters that don't own who they are, or what they're doing. Finn's comedic moments are forced at you so that you don't forget he's going to be the new witty rogue Han Solo. Poe's jeers at the beginning felt like I was watching Vince Vaughn in Dodgeball. Rey is the least offender in my eyes, but has been called by others a Mary Sue. I don't care too much about powerful people in a fictional story . I just want the dang story to make me believe it.

This was supposed to be the continuation of an epic tale, and it ended up being a reboot. JJ Abrams is a little too stuck in that mode, in my opinion.

2/5

TheKevman
Dec 13, 2003
I thought Mad Max: Fury Road was

so you should probably ignore anything else I say


I've chewed on this movie since I saw it on its Thursday night release. I, the mid-level Star Wars fan that I am, got excited by the prospects for a new release, given that it seemed like Star Wars had finally moved past the 1, 2, 3 timeline. I was a fan of 4 5 and 6, hated 1 and 2, and thought that 3 was decent to moderately good. I've always been a huge Trekkie, and I liked/disliked what J.J. Abrams did with the re-boot. So I was curious to see what he'd do here.

It's the same scale as what was done with Star Trek, like most people before me have said. But I think the audience of the movie will grade it on some sort of a bell curve, dependent upon your interest in the franchise.

You have 3 distinct groups:

Group 1 are the people who have little to no knowledge of the Star Wars saga, except that they see commercials and know that it's coming, and likely get dragged along or go willingly to the theater. They comprise about 10% of the market, in my opinion.
Group 2 are the people who have seen 4, 5, and 6, saw Episode 1 and thought it was awful, casually watched 2 and 3 and were excited about seeing a 'fixer' movie that could add life to the franchise again. They comprise about 80% of the market, in my opinion.
Group 3 are the hardcore Star Wars fans, the ones who idolize George Lucas, post about Star Wars online, have the video games, have likely purchase Star Wars books, etc. They comprise about 10% of the market, in my opinion.

I went to see the movie with my gf and a goon friend of mine and my gf was Group 1, for sure. She'd never seen the movies, didn't really care about them, just got excited because I was. She walked out totally confused/lost, didn't understand the references to the past movies/why people were clapping when certain characters were shown, asked why there was a huge dog on the screen shooting a crossbow that fired lasers instead of bolts (solid question, actually) and complained that it was long and not really focused, kind of all over the place. She gave it 2/5.

Me and the goon came out ecstatic, loved the nostalgia, talked about it like we were in high school again, both agreed that it was infinitely better than anything from 1-3, and agreed we'd see it again. We're both definitely in Group 2. We did acknowledge some of the weak points, but overall we both agreed we'd give it a solid 4-4.5 out of 5.

I've read some reviews online and it seems like the Group 3 folks were really let down. They're coming out of the movie saying things like it's a complete duplication of Episode 4, it's unoriginal, it's painfully repetitive of past themes, etc. To that group, that makes this movie a disappointment and they're giving it a 2/5, where a solid point is derived from the nostalgia aspect of it and the rest of it is that they're rationalizing that "well hey, at least I got to see another Star Wars movie in the theaters, so that's good." This group hates that Rey can use mind control and manipulate the force in about 5 minutes of learning she has it (because that flies in the face of anything from before) and they hate the BIGGER! SHINIER! part that DKWildz references in his pretty on-point review that I'd expect from someone that is probably more invested in the franchise. They're much more concerned about the technical and political aspects of the film because they are much more invested in the Star Wars universe than the average viewer.

So Disney really covered their bases here, and that's exactly what they were trying to do. Regardless of what we 'think' J.J. Abrams approach entailed, the goal of Disney was to appeal to as many people as possible and to bring new consumers into the fold by creating a wide enough trough of appeal, and by rebooting. It's going to fail on the Group 1 people, and it's going to anger the Group 3 people (but that doesn't matter because they're still going to see the next one and will likely buy SOMETHING from the juggernaut of retail for their kids) so realistically, they're capturing about 90% of the audience and ensuring they'll be around next time.

I understand the mindset of the Group 3 folk, though, completely. As a total Group 3 Trekkie, I walked out of the first Star Trek reboot saying a lot of the same things that they are (minus the repetitive plot). I was annoyed at a lot of the changes, the cheese, and the disregard for the technical aspects of it (seriously, those Klingons looked ridiculous, and the Super Ship in the 2nd movie was a joke). But the Star Trek reboot had some solid actors, was entertaining, and at least got me my favorite franchise back on the map and entertained me for almost 2 hours, and I can honestly say the same about this movie. It's absolutely worth a shot if you're in Group 2 or 3, and if you're in Group 1, if one of your friends, significant others, or family says 'You might want to watch some of the other ones first' you should absolutely take them up on the offer, with the exception of Episodes 1 and 2, of course

Fellwenner
Oct 21, 2005
Don't make me kill you.



A fun, entertaining action movie which doesn't really do anything new. Driving home from the theater earlier the thing which most struck me was how recycled it is. The ideas and sets are virtually straight from the original trilogy. The pacing is fine, the acting isn't terrible, but it's still disappointingly paint by numbers. I'm glad that JJ Abrams isn't directing any more of these.

2/5.

bad news bareback
Jan 16, 2009



I don't appreciate the Star Wars universe enough to really like any part of this movie. The action felt lackluster without any tension, the villain was 2 dimensional as heck and I didn't care about any of the main characters. There were a lot of plot holes and sure it's a fantasy world with magic and wizards but I can't be made to care when one of the main characters accidentally helps blow up the laser planet. I feel like this whole series is a more acceptable My Little Pony, made for kids but consumed by adults.

1/5

Hitlers Gay Secret
Mar 7, 2010

The Third Reich's under new -- and better -- management.

Hasn't word reached Camp Pendleton yet?


College Slice

As someone who was a major Star Wars geek in high school, I'm so glad they did away with the entire Expanded Universe. There was so much worthless crap in there that I don't care if the next films are bad, they'll never be as bad as Aliens from another galaxy smashing a moon into Chewbacca and being immune to the Force or Emperor Palpatine having 9 billion clone bodies to possess.

5/5 for breathing new, and fun life into a dead franchise.

paperchaseguy
Feb 21, 2002

THEY'RE GONNA SAY NO

I never really felt tension.

I never really cared about the characters.

I never felt that the characters cared about each other. Sure, they tried a couple times having Poe and Finn find some immediate connection that is extinguished almost as quickly when they are split up for most of the movie, or when Finn and Rey celebrate escaping the TIE fighters -- again, forced and you'd miss it if you blinked.

The classic Red Letter Media reviews of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace had a great take on the character development: "For each character, describe them WITHOUT referring to how they look." And for the original characters from episodes 4-6 (Luke, Han, Leia, C3P0, etc.), there's plenty of character traits to describe them. The problem is when you get to the episode 1-3 characters (Qui-Gon, Amidala, Darth Maul, Mace Windu, Count Dooku, Bail Organa), these characters have NOTHING to describe them other than their looks.

You have a bit of the same problem in episode 7, though not quite to the same degree. Poe, Rey, Finn, Hux (who?), Phasma, BB-8, Maz -- quick, describe them WITHOUT referring to their looks. It's a bit easier than the Phantom Menace, but you're dealing with largely one dimensional characters (instead of zero dimensions in TPM).

And then Rey is amazing at everything she tries. This is a REALLY boring character trait to have. (This is also a big part of why everyone hated kid Anakin in the prequels -- you would have thought they'd learned.) She's a great physical fighter, she instantly is an amazing pilot, she knows to bypass the hyperdrive compressor, and this is BEFORE we get started on her Force and lightsabre abilities. Yeah I'm sure this will be explained away in the next movie by tying her into the Skywalker family tree, but still: boring. Compare this to Luke in episode 4: a good but not invincible pilot (which has a backstory), good at fixing droids (because he needed them for his moisture farm), mostly he runs away from immediate physical danger, and he uses the Force like twice. And he had a LOT of help, while Rey is the best at everything. (It could be worse, she could be a 6 year old expert mechanic and podracer with midichlorians.). Still, for the third time: boring.

Part of the problem is the constant expansion and increased Force powers over the course of Episodes 4-6-1-3. While it isn't as prevalent in this movie, one of the many elephants in the room is how to account for the Force WITHOUT making it the all-encompassing, all-controlling presence that only a very few have knowledge of. Take all the backflips, and dual-ended sabres, jumping out of flying cars, and single-handedly defeating armies in the prequels, and compare them to the one climactic lightsabre fight in A New Hope. Obi-wan tries to sneak his way back to the Falcon, and Vader confronts him. The fight is as much about their personal relationship as it is about their physical skill. It isn't clear who has the upper hand... maybe Vader? but then Obi-wan seems to have an opening to dash to the ship. Just as he could take it, a bunch of soldiers cut off the route (count them, it's like eight Stormtroopers). Knowing it's over, Obi-wan gives it up and sacrifices himself as a distraction so his friends can escape. Obi-wan's fight is a million times more climactic than the prequel fights, right?

So in episode 7, the major Force plot point only comes as the major villain and badass Kylo Ren fights two people practically untrained in the use of the lightsabre or the force, AND IS DEFEATED BY THEM. This makes laughably little sense -- to build up the major villain only to have him lose his only lightsabre duel to an amateur. The movie tries to have it both ways: Ren uses the force to be incredibly destructive, but then it's not powerful enough to defeat the spunky hero(ine)s. And then the major Evil plot point death star mk 3, a nearly pointless rehash of a rehash.

Another (minor) point -- which alien is more impressive and scary? The immobile Sarlacc, or any alien in episode 7? (I'm thinking specifically of the big mouthed aliens on Han's freighter.

Despite all my complaining, the movie does manage to be much better than the prequels, which only solidifies the poo poo that they were. I hold little hope that episode 8 will rival Empire Strikes Back, but Disney has its golden goose, so: gold painted eggs. Shiny! Are you not entertained?

2.5/5.

paperchaseguy fucked around with this message at Jan 26, 2016 around 07:37

polio king
Jun 19, 2004



Gropiemon posted:

I don't appreciate the Star Wars universe enough to really like any part of this movie. The action felt lackluster without any tension, the villain was 2 dimensional as heck and I didn't care about any of the main characters. There were a lot of plot holes and sure it's a fantasy world with magic and wizards but I can't be made to care when one of the main characters accidentally helps blow up the laser planet. I feel like this whole series is a more acceptable My Little Pony, made for kids but consumed by adults.

1/5

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super sweet best pal
Nov 18, 2009

erhecktile disfunction

Lipstick Apathy

I enjoyed watching it in the theater but when I got home and thought about what I watched, all the plotholes started jumping out at me until they were all I could think of. It rushes at you so fast with so many cheap pops it doesn't give you time to notice its flaws until you take time to process what you saw, and Disney was banking on people not doing that and just going "holy poo poo" online over and over until it's time to consume the next movie. For an example of a major plot hole: how the hell did a loving remnant of the Empire that doesn't look one tenth as threatening manage to build a weapon to surpass the Death Star in only a few short decades?

Also it felt like they were trying to shoehorn in all the plot beats of the entire original trilogy into a single movie, so there wasn't enough time for a proper space battle. They introduced the x-wing squadron like in New Hope but did fuckall with them, I can't even remember. RotJ did a far better job balancing the ground, space and lightsaber action so that all three were of a satisfying length and were reasonably fleshed-out.

2/5

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